Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rail fanning as a hobby

June 9, 2002 I officially became a rail fan. A rail fan is a person who goes out to the train tracks and photo graphs or video tapes trains as they pass by. These people may carry hand held scanners and listen in on railroad communications. People might ask "Why on earth would you do this?". First off it gives me a chance to spend time with my son and daughter. Secondly, after you have the equipment the only expense is the gas. I usually load snacks and a cooler with drinks in it so it is sort-of like a picnic in a way. Finally, I now have another hobby that I don't have to spend any more money on if I don't want to "Photography".

I have loved trains ever since I was a kid. On June 9, 2002 I loaded my son who would have been approximately 1 1/2 years old, the diaper bag, the camera equipment and off we went. Now, I had driven by and taken a few pictures now and then, but nothing on a regular basis. Now I go at least two times a month to take photographs of trains. The picture at the above is one of the pictures I took that first day.

At first these outings included going to a park as my son was really small and I didn't want him near the tracks. It would take time to train him about the dangers of being to close. There are several places near the railroad tracks where we could stop and he could play in the park and I could see trains. Sometimes the railfan trips included stops at places where special events were being held. Unfortunately my daughter didn't get the exposure to the rail fan trips until recently. The picture on the left is a yearly event called "A Day out with Thomas". This was an actual steam locomotive that pulled a set of coaches and rides were given for a fee.

From time to time my daughter goes out with my son and I. I try to limit the time we spend someplace where there isn't play equipment to a minimum as she doesn't seem to like to rail fan. What I thought was my hobby has turned into two hobby's in one. The picture on the right was taken at one of mine and my son's favorite parking places near the railroad tracks. We usually go somewhere where there is play ground equipment for her to play on so that she has something to do.

This past Sunday my son and I went on a real rail fan trip. We started the day before sunrise. We went and got breakfast then off we went. Yes, we ended the day at the play ground equipment, but he seems to like going track side and taking pictures. I have two cameras now and he takes pictures as well. I think for him it is just the one-on-one attention that he likes. It is amazing how a simple hobby choice has turned into a source of great enjoyment for me. I get to spend qulity time with my children. I originally started this hobby as a way to spend some time out doors as my job at that time kept me in doors most of the day. I also now have a photography hobby that I didn't expect to have. I will finish this post by showing some of the photo graphs that we took on Sunday.

This first photo was taken just before sunrise. My sun is facing east near the CSX double track main line. We weren't hearing anything on the scanner so we decided to move to the Norfolk Southern double track main line.

Our first train of the day was a Canadian Pacific train. Canadian Pacific has trackage rights on Norfolk Southern tracks.

The second place we stopped I decided to take some photograph's of some horses. My little girl loves horses. As I shot pictures of these horses, I was hoping the people in the house wasn't going to shoot back.

My son waiting to take a picture of the next train.

Couple of photo's of Norfolk Southern trains.

My son and I at one of the places with play ground equipment near the railroad tracks.


ida said...

i just thought that you always had this hobby. i remember you used to live like right off the tracks. i am like your daughter in some ways i dont seem to care for it. but i love that morning pic with the sunrise on it.

Ritchie said...

I have always liked trains. I never considered my self-a rail fan until 2002. It was 2002 before I started going out on a somewhat regular basis taking pictures. The hobby really took off in 2003 when I got my amateur radio license (HAM Radio). In the state of Indiana you have to have a HAM Radio license to legally carry a scanner in the car. I now have a HAM radio that receives the railroad frequencies installed in my car.

That sunrise picture was taken Sunday. I have a friend that is attempting to teach me tography. He had been after me to take a sunset picture and I took some. I thought since I was up at sunrise I would try the sunrise picture.

sheila said...

Nice Pictures!